Development in the International Political Economy

  • Summer schools
  • Department of International Development
  • Application code SS-IR207
  • Starting 2022
  • Short course: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

Why do some countries get rich but others remain poor? Will trade wars and climate change slow down economic growth? How can we build democracy and gender equality in poorer countries? These are some of the challenges faced by global leaders and explains why International Development studies is now a growing field of social sciences and a focus of public policy.

This course will provide you with an introduction to International Development - the study of how to achieve prosperous, healthy and fulfilling lives. Its objective is to explain the core debates in International Development, and to review potential policy interventions at global, national, and sub-national levels. The multidisciplinary nature of the content means you will explore important topics such as economic globalisation, trade and investment, international aid, armed conflict and climate change from the perspective of political science, international relations and political economy.

Another key feature of the course is to examine the role of international organisations such as the World Bank, the United Nations, and the World Trade Organisation and other aid and civil society organisations. As a result, you will leave the course with the ability to analyse and interpret the complex relationship between different international actors. You will also develop an understanding of important approaches used by governments, international organisations and civil society to create meaningful change at a local and international level.

Session: One  - CLOSED
Dates: 20 June - 8 July 2022 
Lecturer: Professor Tim Forsyth

Programme details

Key facts

Level: 200 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees:  Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One examination and one essay

Typical credit*: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional but may be required for credit by your home institution. Your home institution will be able to advise how you can meet their credit requirements.

For more information on exams and credit, read Teaching and assessment


At least one introductory course in either social science (e.g. political science, international relations, sociology, economics), history or law.

Key topics

  • What is “Development”?

  • Getting Rich: Economic Growth and Industrialisation

  • The Debt Crisis and the rise of Neo-Liberal Governance

  • Governing Trade, Globalisation, and Financial Crises

  • Politics: The State and Governance in International Development

  • Poverty and Inequality

  • Gender and Development

  • Disasters and Vulnerability to Climate Change

  • Aid and Humanitarianism

  • Population and Resources

  • Food and Rural Development

  • International Policy on Climate Change and Development

Programme structure and assessment

This course is delivered as a combination of lectures, class discussions and readings. Due to the highly topical nature of the content students are expected to engage with the course material before each class in order to participate in the lively discussion between faculty and peers.

The course is assessed through a 2,000 word essay (50%) and a final examination (50%). In addition, students have the option to submit a voluntary written assessment during the course to practice their writing skills and receive feedback from faculty.

Further details will be provided at the beginning of the course.

Course outcomes

  • Understand the core debates in International Development and the development of the discipline within the social sciences

  • Review potential policy interventions available to governments and international actors at global, national and sub-national levels

  • Discuss the role of international organisations and their ability to make meaningful change locally and globally

  • Identify different approaches used by governments, international organisations and civil society to create change

Is this course right for you?

This course attracts students from politics, international relations, economics, geography, and sociology, as well as professionals looking for a fast introduction to academic and policy debates about development. If you are interested in developing a well-rounded understanding of international development drawing on different disciplines within the social sciences then you should consider taking this course. It is especially suited if you are targeting a role in government, research, policy development, journalism or within a non-government agency. 

Your department

LSE’s Department of International Development promotes interdisciplinary research and teaching and is concerned with the causes of poverty, social exclusion, economic stagnation, humanitarian crises and human security. The Department’s aim is to provide students with an understanding of why and how some late-developing countries have succeeded in overcoming these problems while others have not, or have seen their progress derailed by disasters and conflicts.

Students will learn from world-leading faculty who have considerable experience in living and working in the developing world and have engaged in policy-relevant research and consultancy work with international development agencies and non-governmental organisations. Engaging with cutting-edge research, students build real-world skills and gain exposure to critical issues, questions and state-of-the-art thinking on the most relevant topics within International Development.

Your faculty

Professor Tim Forsyth
Professor of Environment and Development
International Development

Reading materials

Currie-Alder, B., Kanbur, R., Malone, D. and Medhora, R. (eds), International Development: Ideas, Experience, and Prospects. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2014).

Additional readings from more advanced journals and book chapters will be recommended as well.

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme
**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice

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